With a full larder and few people on campus to serve, Rochester Institute of Technology started using up its food supplies this week by delivering regular meals to health care workers at Rochester Regional Health.
The university plans to deliver 100 meals at a time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until supplies run out. At the same time, RIT’s FoodShare, an on-campus food pantry, has started accepting appointments to provide donated groceries to students, faculty, staff and alumni who are in need. The program will be open until the end of the semester, May 7.
Monday’s meal delivery included individual portions of flank steak, mushrooms, roasted potatoes and broccoli as one meal. Other entrees included sweet and sour chicken with rice and black bean burritos and salads. Individual slices of cake were also sent to the RRH locations.
“We’re trying to best utilize the food we already have on campus that was planned for events and the students’ return after spring break,” said Autumn Geer, chef de cuisine for RIT Catering.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and colleges started moving to online instruction, RIT students were already on spring break.
“I have a lot of friends in the health care field who are risking their lives every day,” Geer said. “They don’t have a lot of food available to them when they need it and aren’t eating properly. They often don’t have time to pack a well-balanced meal. So we’re hoping to do some good, and to keep our staff engaged and inspired to know they are doing something good.”
Rochester Regional Health is RIT’s clinical partner for its health care related programs.
“What this means to our frontline staff is immeasurable,” said Michele Grazulis, president of RRH Foundations. “ For some, it will be the meal they eat during work since our cafeterias are closed. For others, it will be the meal they take home after a long day of taking care of our community. It will provide comfort and nourishment, and we are thankful to our partners at RIT for thinking of our employees in such a meaningful way during this time.”
The RIT food pantry, which normally serves 900 people a year, had closed in March when non-essential businesses were asked to close, but reopened this week on an appointment-only basis. Appointments are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with 24 slots available each day.
“If there is a greater need, we may expand that,” said Sharon Kompalla-Porter, associate director of residence life. “We’re trying to be as cautious as possible, designating this new model with both the health and safety of the FoodShare staff and visitors in mind.”
Participants who need food can arrange for an appointment by visiting the RIT FoodShare webpage.
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